Thursday, January 31, 2013

No rants here: outrage fatigue

Dr. Crazy has a great post on what I've been feeling lately about all the "end of the liberal arts as we know them" articles and MOOC cheerleading. I just don't want to write about it any more, for a while at least. It could be a case of outrage fatigue, and that's what I think it is, mostly.

But it could be something else, too.  I'm serving on a few committees now, one college-wide, where I actually have a voice.  That's where I'm putting my energy right now: speaking up in real life and making arguments that I hope are cogent and compelling.

If Northern Clime decides to go the all-MOOC and Scantron route* for the liberal arts, for example, I'll be one of the people who at least gets to go on record about it. You can never tell, of course, whether committees are real or just window dressing while an administration does what it's going to do anyway, but if you don't act as though it's real and as though your voice counts, it surely won't.

The other thing is that outrage takes time, even on a small level. I made a promise to myself this semester that in the name of productivity, I'd invoke the prime directive for email. This isn't  the Star Trek one, but the one that goes something like this:
If someone's telling you about something you already know or is treating you as though you don't know about something that you do know ("Do you know about MOOCs? Here's why they're swell!"), don't waste time being annoyed at having your time wasted. Stop reading and delete that message immediately.
This message is brought to you by "Outrage: It's not what's for breakfast any more."

*Written in 2008, but doesn't it sort of predict the whole MOOC thing?


Z said...

We are getting MOOCs. Either you are for them or you are a technophobe who cannot run your computer. Either you are for them or you are one of those evil people who "lecture."

undine said...

Yep, that about sums up what I'm being told.

sophylou said...

Also, "lecturing" is only evil if you do it live in front of real people. If it's taped and distributed via MOOC, that cleans it up and makes it A Force For Good (and possibly also for World Peace).

I share your outrage fatigue. I am also experiencing its corollary, panic/defensiveness fatigue.

Z said...

What they want is tuition money from people who cannot or will not come into campus in person. The rest is "literature."